All around the world, students at all levels of school – from elementary to university to graduate school – are using technology to help them advance in their academic universe.Perhaps your child is in grade four and doing online learning because of measures in place to control the coronavirus. Or perhaps they’re leaving home for the first time to head to college. Whether one of these describes the student in your home or your child is in a different situation, the hardware they use will play a big role in how well and how quickly they learn.However you feel about young children (in grades three and four, for example) having access to technology – you may feel they are too young for a cellphone, for example – laptops are crucial pieces of modern learning, and by their early teens (or sooner) they will likely need to be adept at using computers.Here’s a roundup of some of the best options for you to consider purchasing for the student in your home or the young adult getting ready to leave the nest and head off to post-secondary school.We’ve factored in cost, security, user-friendliness and several other features that matter to any parent getting ready to invest in this important educational equipment.Your first decision is this: what operating system (OS) do you want your child to become comfortable with? Your choice, essentially, is between Windows 10 and Chrome OS, from Google.Both systems come with features like parental controls, access to video games, etc. — but all should be appropriate to your child’s age. And don’t forget about buying a water-resistant keyboard, just in case the juice gets spilled!
1- Apple Laptops:
Macs, including MacBook and MacBook Pro, are probably the most famous – and certainly one of the most expensive – laptops on the market today.Macs have plenty of great things, like the ease of use and tight security; Apple may have some of the most “bulletproof” technology available today. So if security is a top priority, consider a Mac, no matter what level your child is at in school. However, if you are equipping a young teenager, get them a used Mac or pass down your own, if you have one, and get a new MacBook or MacBook Pro for yourself.Young kids, in particular, don’t need a laptop as sophisticated as these devices. However, if you love Apple products and want your children to grow up Apple savvy, so to speak, save the splurge for yourself.Apple has a “cyber store” within the Amazon website, so anything you purchase there is just as reliable as the one you would buy at a bricks and mortar Apple store. But be prepared to spend approximately $1,600 (USD) for a new Mac for yourself, or more. See why we suggest passing yours on to your child and getting a new one yourself?Oh, and just a word here about the new Apple MacBook Pro 13-Inch: Apple’s keyboards were notoriously uncomfortable for some users, and this model is the last one of Apple’s laptops to get the new, enhanced keyboard finally.But other features of this Apple laptop are better, too: there are faster memory and even more storage than what other models have had in the past.
2- Acer Chromebook 514:
This laptop is available on Amazon for about $400 (USD) and is a terrific option for children just becoming familiar with computers.It’s aluminum back makes it stand up to bangs and drops, and it’s a budget-conscience choice that lasts all day when it’s unplugged – perfect for long days spent in class or for the student who constantly forgets to plug it in to recharge.
3- Asus VivoBook S15:
This is a terrific laptop that functions rather like an on-the-go desktop. It’s a great deal for the money — about $850 (USD) on Amazon, and performs well for high school students and older kids alike.Its slender design makes it easy to tote around, and it comes equipped with a long-life battery for those hours kids spend with their computers unplugged.This 15-inch notebook won raves this past May from PC Magazine, which praised it as a great, all-around laptop for not too much money. High praise, indeed.
4- Lenovo Chromebook Duet:
This laptop was another winner with PC Magazine this year, a standout for many reasons, including price. (Many models are available on Amazon, starting at about $300 USD).This laptop is perfect for students whose computing needs are not too demanding and complicated. It comes with 128 GB of flash memory and essentially has three pieces to add up to barely more than two pounds.First, there is the aluminum alloy tablet; second is the back panel with a kickstand so it can stand on a desk. And finally, it has a keyboard with a touchpad. A minor complaint is that the keyboard is a little small, which won’t matter if your child’s hands are small, but they might matter later on as they grow!
5- Dell Inspiron 14 7000 Series:
There are several models in this line of Dell products, ranging in price from about $830 (USD) to over $1,100 (USD). But it has earned a lot of rave reviews from computer experts for its efficiency, lightweight body and almost 24/7 battery life.It also gets great reviews for the 14-inch screen and overall performance and comes with 8 GB of RAM. Very impressive, overall. (Many in the series are available on Amazon.)
These suggestions will get you started as you begin investigating what laptop is the right pick this year for the student in your home or the student who’s heading out the door and off to college.Many factors contribute to the decision, including, most importantly, how old your child is and the level of sophistication and tech-agility they have. Choose a device that will be relevant and useful to them for at least the next few years.Security is important too, naturally, and any laptop for a child, if they are in elementary or even early high school, should have solid parental controls. Hence, you know exactly what your child is accessing – and be able to prevent them from accessing certain websites that are not appropriate for their young eyes.The time will come soon enough when you won’t be able to control what your child sees or accesses on the Internet, and we know that’s a scary thought!But for now, you can and should control the kind of laptop they get and how they use it. It is meant to be an educational tool, a way for them to engage with learning that uses modern technology. It’s not for games – at least not entirely!Sit down and talk with them about their schoolwork, how their teachers expect them to use their laptops both inside the classroom and outside, and go from there.Ask them what they’d like their laptop to do, in addition to educational things – do they want to use it to stay connected with friends and family or to help with graphic design? The more you learn about the kind of laptop your child wants to own, the more you’ll learn about them!And that’s the goal of all good parents, for a happy and successful parenting journey 🙂